Is your Instagram presence starting to feel a bit… stale?
Are you looking for ways to spice up your Instagram posts and profile, and ultimately boost your engagement numbers?
If so, you’ve come to the right place!
At Social Report, we’ve been in the same Instagram rut. So we spent hours scouring the net in search of the best Instagram hacks in hopes that we’d lure ourselves out.
In the end, we came up with 20 awesome Instagram hacks that will not only make your profile look more complete, but will give you higher quality posts that—in turn—bring more engagement.
And in this article, we’ll show you them. Below, we’ve run through why each Instagram hack works and took a look at how you can implement them into your Instagram strategy.
So without further ado… let’s dive in!
1. Use Linktree to drive traffic to your best work
One of the toughest parts of Instagram marketing is that you can’t put links in your posts. In fact, you only get one place to promote an external website on your entire Instagram presence: in the link box in your bio.
So, make the most of your single link with Linktree. This tool lets you quickly build mobile-friendly micro-websites that link to your best blog posts, products, and merchandise right from your bio link.
Oh, and let’s be real: doesn’t saying “check my Linktree” sound so much cooler than “Link in bio”?
2. Use location tags for more engagements
Location tags a crucial part of any Instagram post. In fact, studies show that posts with a location tag get 79% more engagement than those without, meaning that you’re giving up valuable engagements and reach by not using them.
This works because—when you add a location tag to a post—it’s added to the location’s Instagram page. Instagram users can then browse these location tags and find your content in the process.
In our experience, we recommend posting your location tag to broad locations. For example, instead of tagging a specific coffee shop or your office, tag the surrounding area or neighborhood. Ultimately, this will get your photo in front of people visiting the area and looking for things to do.
So, how do you add a location tag? Simple: just tap the Add Location button underneath the caption section when posting to Instagram. You can also add location tags in step ⅗ of the Social Report scheduler.
3. Make an Instagram stories playlist
Instagram recently added the ability to add “story highlights” to your Instagram profile. These highlights look the same as any other Instagram story, but instead remain on your profile permanently (instead of disappearing in 24 hours).
You can create these by navigating to your Instagram profile and clicking on the plus button underneath the Story Highlights header. You’ll be presented with a log of your past Instagram stories content, and you can click and choose which you want to add to your highlight.
We recommend making Instagram story highlights that teach your audience how to do something. Like in the albums example above, you can use this to create tutorials and other how-to content that your audience members will find interesting.
Alternatively, you can use these to show off your best work. For example, if you’re a design agency, you may want to use story highlights to show off your best designs and client work.
However you use story highlights though, make sure you’re showing off awesome content that boosts your brand image and makes people want to look deeper into your brand.
4. Use shorter captions (because we’re all time-poor)
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Want people to actually read your captions? Don’t try and max out the character limit.
Instead, we highly recommend sticking with short, punchy, and straight-to-the-point captions on Instagram.
This makes your captions easy to read when people are scrolling through their Instagram feeds late at night or on their subway commute to work. And with more people wearing glasses than ever, you’ll make your nearsighted followers happy too 😉
We found this clever Instagram hack by looking through top-performing posts from some of the most well-known brands on Instagram (think Glossier, Girlfriend, Casper, and others) and looking at their top performing posts.
In the end, we found that a majority of these accounts use captions between 20 and 50 characters in length. These brands are nothing to scoff at, so make sure to follow their lead and experiment with shorter captions yourself.
5. Let a user know when you reshare their posts
Resharing another Instagram account’s posts—whether on your feed or your story—can be an awesome way to show some love to accounts you like while expanding your reach at the same time.
After all, if a brand sees you share its best work, chances are they’ll give your profile a look and give you a follow too. Oh, and if karma is any indication, maybe they’ll even share your posts in the future!
However, when you reshare someone’s post, they’re not immediately notified that you did it.
Because of this, it’s on you to write a “thank you” note of sorts after sharing Instagram content. In this message, give the account a heads up that you shared its post, and tell them to keep up the awesome work.
6. Use up to 30 different hashtags (with care)
Nowadays, Instagram lets you add 30 different hashtags to the captions of your Instagram posts. The benefit to this is—when you add hashtags to your post—your posts become visible in a search for said hashtag.
So if, for example, you’re a skateboard company, using hashtags like #skateboards, #skateboarding, and #skatepark would make your posts visible to people searching in those hashtags.
Further, Instagram users can now follow hashtags that they’re interested in. When following a specific hashtag, they’ll get notifications when there are new posts in said hashtag, making it easier to find new Instagram accounts that post content they’re interested in.
Make sure to capitalize on this and consistently use related hashtags in your posts. This will—like mentioned earlier—get your content in front of new eyes that are hungry for the content that you’re already posting.
Just note that it’s never a good idea to use hashtags that aren’t related to your content. This will only make your posts look spammy and serve your posts to people that aren’t interested in your content.
7. Consider running a high-quality photo contest
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💙 RIF x UNDERLINED SWEEPS 💙 #sweepstakes To thank our readers for getting us to 10k followers on Instagram, we partnered with @getunderlined for a special sweepstakes! ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ One GRAND PRIZE WINNER will receive everything pictured here + a $25 @outofprint gift card 😍 It’s a book-lover’s dream. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Here’s how to enter: 1. Like this post ❤️ 2. Tag a friend in the comments! 3. Follow @readitforward and @getunderlined 👌🏽 Head over to @getunderlined’s post for another chance to win. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Enter between June 12, 2019 and June 18, 2019. Open to US residents, 18 and older. Void where prohibited or restricted by law. See Official Rules at https://bit.ly/2ZkEk4X for full details. ————————————————— #booksweeps #entertowin #outofprint #booknerd #underlined #nancydrew #contemporaryfiction #yabooks #jojomoyes #alwaysreading #booklovers #readitforward #10kgiveaway
Sweepstakes and contests are one of the easiest ways to boost your engagement and help you gain followers in a pinch. But instead of hosting a random giveaway, get creative and host a photo contest.
In this contest, have your followers take a photo of your product or of another subject of your choosing. Then, have them post the photo to their Instagram feed, tag your account, and use a giveaway-specific hashtag.
Run the contest for a few weeks and pick your favorite photo as the winner. When all is said and done, you’ll have made one of your followers happy, and expanded your network by having your followers post about your products for an entry.
It’s truly a win-win for everyone!
8. Post content at all the right times
Timing is a super important thing to keep in mind when posting content to your Instagram feed.
Despite the network moving away from a strictly chronological feed, we’ve found that recently posted content still performs better than older content in terms of ranking at the top of the Instagram timeline—that is, if you’re posting when your followers are most likely to check Instagram.
Obviously, though, everyone’s followers are different.
Each set of followers logs on at different times, ultimately engaging with content at different times too. Because of this, you’ll need to get creative (dare we say “scientific”?) when finding the best times of day to post to Instagram.
One of the best ways of doing this is by looking at historical engagement data. Simply put: this is when you look at when people have interacted with your content in the past.
However, this can be a tough statistic to find manually. So with that in mind, we recommend using Social Report’s optimization report to find the data and crunch the numbers for you.
In this report, you can view when your followers are liking your posts within any given reporting period. You can use this historical data to guide when you post to social media, all the way down to the hour.
Additionally, keep your audience in mind when choosing when to post. For example, if you run a local coffeehouse in Brooklyn, chances are you’ll want to post before and after New York working hours when people are most likely to check their Instagram feeds.
9. Likewise, don’t post too little… or too much
Timing isn’t everything though—you need to know how much to post to Instagram too.
This is crucial because posting too much to Instagram will make your feed look inactive, while posting too much may raise concerns about your account being a spambot.
But that begs the question: how often should you post to Instagram?
Well, our friends at Union Metrics recently pulled data from the top 55 Instagram accounts and found that they post—on average—1.5 times per day. So if you want to run with the big leagues, follow their lead alternate between posting once and twice per day.
10. Post photo albums that tell a story
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Driven by a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 engine, the new Cayenne Turbo Coupé is as powerful as it looks. #ShapedbyPerformance #CayenneCoupe #Porsche #PorscheCayenne #Cayenne __ Combined fuel consumption in accordance with EU 6: Cayenne Turbo Coupé: 11.4 – 11.3 l/100 km; combined CO2 emissions 261 – 258 g/km
You probably already know that you can post multiple Instagram photos at once. But did you know you can use this feature to massively increase your engagement and the time people spend actually looking at your posts too?
Yup, it’s possible and surprisingly simple to do too—just make your multi-image posts tell a story. Here’s how.
First, start with a punchy, eye-grabbing first image. This will draw your followers’ attention and convince them to swipe through the rest of the images in your album. Then, make sure the rest of the images in your post are high-quality and flow together.
For example, you can make a post that shows the story of one of your products being developed. Or, alternatively, you can show someone how to make something new themselves—think arts and crafts, recipes, and other how-to’s.
Then, once you’ve selected your images, add a cool caption that brings the photo album together. This can include a call-to-action or a “link in bio” that will encourage your followers to check out more of your content.
11. Keep an eye on what your competitors are posting
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@afthenaysayer - Amahl Abdul-Khaliq. Rides the Bianchi Super Pista on various velodrome tracks all the while being a well known musician. Art/Cycling/Music is his life. Maybe not in that order but it defines the man. We are honored that Amahl rides Bianchi! Interesting interview with Amahl on www.dno.la check it out! #afthenaysayer #Bianchi #SuperPista #dnola #track #velodrome
No matter the social network, it’s always important to keep tabs on what your competitors are posting to social media.
This will help you brainstorm new content ideas and find types of content that are working for others in your field.
In other words: let your competitors take the risk of posting new and experimental content for you, and take inspiration from what works for them.
We recommend taking a particularly close look at what types of content performs best for your clients—in other words: look for posts with high numbers of likes and comments.
After you’ve found content that works for them, take your own spin on it when reposting to your social feeds—never copy the same visual media or caption word-for-word.
12. Add line breaks to your Instagram profile
One of the weird quirks of Instagram is that it doesn’t let you use the return key when writing post captions or writing a bio in your profile. On iOS, for example, it simply doesn’t give you the “return” key option on your keyboard.
This makes it seemingly impossible to write lists in your bio, so it’s hard to format large chunks of content or separate things onto different lines.
Thankfully, though, we found a sneaky little workaround.
Turns out, the return key reappears when you hit the 123 button on your iPhone’s keyboard—and, amazingly enough, the return key actually works when pressed!
This means that you’re free to add line breaks in your Instagram caption, so you can list out things like your business’ location, new products, and even add phone numbers and other ways to contact your business right in your bio.
Even cooler, this works in post captions too, so you can make multi-line captions and even divide up hashtags and the captions in your posts.
13. Use the tried-and-true like and follow strategy
One of the easiest ways to grow your Instagram follower count is the tried-and-true like and follow strategy. Simply put, this is when you find an Instagram page similar to your own, follow it, and like a post or two.
Doing this will get your Instagram page in front of similar pages. This will encourage the admin of the page to follow you back and check out your content, in turn building out your Instagram network and giving you useful connections within your industry.
Just one word of advice: make sure to do this manually and only follow accounts that are truly relevant to the types of content you post. Automation could get you banned from Instagram, and following accounts randomly won’t provide any sort of benefit.
Oh, and one more thing: don’t overdo this. If you follow hundreds of new accounts per day, you run the risk of looking like a bot. This can tank your brand image and ultimately ruin your Instagram presence.
14. Add Instagram follow buttons to your website, blog, and newsletters
One of the easiest ways to build your Instagram following is by promoting your Instagram account on places where you already have a following—like your blog, website, and newsletter.
Our favorite way of doing this is by using a free tool like ShareThis to add Instagram follow buttons to your web properties. Just grab the free button pack from their website, configure it with your social accounts, and you’ll wrangle in new followers quickly.
15. Use Pexels to find free, high-quality Instagram content
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This week our featured Hero is @ekrulila, who captures stunning photos of Istanbul's streets. See her work at the link in our Story. ⠀ .⠀ .⠀ .⠀ .⠀ .⠀ #streetphotography #istanbul #streetphotographer #architecture #archilovers #architecturelovers #getoutside #pexels #pexelsphotos #pexelshero
Don’t have the time to create original photo and video content? Don’t write off Instagram just yet. Instead, use a high-quality free image repository like Pexels to find premade content that you can post without charge or attribution.
Pexels curates content from all of the web’s biggest royalty free image sites, giving you tens-of-thousands of images and video clips that you can repost to your own Instagram feed without charge.
You can post these to your Instagram account when you’re out of ideas, or when your content library has run dry.
Just make sure that you mix this content up with actual in-house content, so that you get the upside of posting original content while still posting consistently.
16. Play with Instagram story stickers
Likewise, make sure you’re using all of the available stories features when you create Instagram stories on your account. Namely, add interactive Instagram stickers like quizzes, Q&A, and polls to your stories.
These stickers give your audience a super easy way to interact with your brand. For example, someone can vote on a poll in just seconds when tapping through your Instagram story as they don’t have to type or take a photo of anything.
Plus, these stickers also make your audience feel like you actually care about their opinion. So use them often, and you’ll see a nice boost in engagement and the public’s perception of your brand.
17. Experiment with a private account (with caution)
Recently, some brands have had success gaining (and retaining) followers by using a private Instagram account. The thinking here is that people will be enticed by your private profile, and that they’ll think twice before unfollowing.
However, the harsh reality here is that most brands and influencers shouldn't have a private Instagram account.
Nowadays, brands and influencers need a public-facing Instagram account to build a brand. And unless you're getting a ton of private message shares, there’s a good chance your growth will stagnate compared when using a private account.
But private accounts may still work for some—check out our full guide to private Instagram accounts for more info!
18. Start posting videos regularly
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You have heard of the great oat drink shortage, right? Well, that’s something that we are not too proud of, but also something that has been impossible to predict and control. Don’t get us wrong, we accept full responsibility for introducing oat drink to the world and then finding it nearly impossible to supply the demand. The only thing we can do to make the situation better is build factories, as many as we can and as fast as we can, and that is exactly what we have been doing. So if you happen to be near Millville, New Jersey or Vlissingen, Netherlands this summer drop by and say hi. Or maybe just drive by and wave because everyone at both those facilities will be working around the clock to end the concept of the great oat drink shortage once and for all. And when that happens, we hope that all of you who have shown us patience and loyalty will be able to once again enjoy your coffee and morning cereal with oat drink. At least until the next…next…nothing. Forget that part.
Videos are huge on Instagram. In fact, from 2017 to 2018, Instagram video views more than quadrupled. This signals that Instagram users are not only posting more video content, but crave more of it too.
Use this to your advantage and post more videos to your Instagram feed. These can be as simple as a quick office tour to a full-blown edited video interview with a well-known influencer in your industry.
Whatever you do though, make sure that you’re posting short and punchy content that can be digested easily. There’s a strict one-minute video length limit on Instagram, and we’ve found that the shorter the video, the more views and engagements it gets.
19. Schedule your Instagram posts in advance
If you’re new to Instagram marketing, there’s a good chance that you’re managing Instagram differently than the rest of the social networks you post to. So while you may have a Twitter and Facebook scheduling tool, you’re likely posting Instagram direct from your phone.
This presents a myriad of issues. If you’re on vacation, for example, you can’t just set your Instagram app to auto-post for you. Instead, you’ll have to manually log on and post your new Instagram post, interrupting your vacation in the process.
But what if we told you there was an easier way? A way so easy, that it doesn’t even require a smartphone to post?
Well, today, we’re here to tell you just that.
Our social media management app—Social Report—has built-in Instagram scheduling tools that you can use to schedule new Instagram posts right from your web browser. Just create an account, link your Instagram business profile, and you can post immediately.
Oh, and unlike other Instagram management tools, we don’t require you to finalize posts on your smartphone. Instead, you can just upload an image and post it right from your web browser.
Yup, it’s really that easy.
20. Track your Instagram growth
So, you’ve successfully built an Instagram marketing strategy and put all of these Instagram hacks into play, but how do you know that they’re actually working?
Simple: you need an awesome Instagram analytics tool.
You can use these tools to track your follower growth, total engagements, and other key metrics. Then, you can examine this data and see if your Instagram strategy is working, or if you need to make some edits and reimagine your strategy.
Of course, our Instagram analytics tool of choice is—drumroll please—our very own Social Report!
As Instagram Marketing Partners, we’re able to provide super in-depth Instagram analytics to our customers, so you can view specialized info like post reach and profile impressions. Plus, you can even view your Instagram analytics in comparison to your other social networks, letting you find trends and correlations.
So don’t miss out—start your 30-day Social Report trial today!
In this article, we introduced you to 20 awesome Instagram hacks that are proven to spark engagement and make your profile shine. Put these into play, and you’ll undoubtedly walk away with a better Instagram presence for you, your brand, or your clients.
But now it’s your turn. What are your favorite Instagram hacks? Let us know in the comments below this article—we’re excited to hear from you!
Need an awesome Instagram management tool? Try Social Report free for 30 days.